shawn’s bio

Writer-director Shawn Ku wowed the Sundance Film Festival with his student short film, Pretty Dead Girl – a musical necromance, which went on to win awards at festivals around the world.  It is currently being developed into a full-length musical stage production with the Araca Group (Urinetown, Wicked) and Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang.

He was signed to direct at Warner Bros while still a student at USC Film School and was later nominated for a DGA Award for his work as director and co-choreographer of MTV’s “The American Mall” (starring The Vampire Diaries’ Nina Dobrev) and by the producers of the High School Musical trilogy).

Shawn earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Harvard University, but left the sciences to become a Broadway performer in Tony Award-winning shows Fosse, Miss Saigon, and The King and I, among others.  As an actor, he won a Jury Prize at AFI FEST for his performance in the lead role of the internationally acclaimed feature Samsara, which premiered at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival on 9/11.  Shawn returned to TIFF with his feature directorial debut, Beautiful Boy (starring Maria Bello and Michael Sheen), which won the International Federation of Film Critics‘ FIPRESCI Prize there and the Gryphon Award for Best Film at the Giffoni Film Festival.  Other directorial credits include A Score to Settle, starring Nicolas Cage, Lifetime Television’s “Seeds Of Yesterday” (the last installment of the acclaimed “Flowers In The Attic” Series), and Crackle’s web series “Sequestered” (IAWTV Award nominee for which he was both director and Executive Producer).

As a writer, Shawn won the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award Honorable Mention at the Tribeca Film Festival with his screenplay White and Rice.  He wrote the screenplays for Thanksgiving, which is going into production in Mexico this year, and Netflix’s Feel The Beat (starring Sophia Carson from Disney Channel’s “Descendants” trilogy).

View samples of Shawn Ku’s work here.